hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Look At You

Every selfie I take, every Marco Polo video I record, every face-time image has to be rehearsed and “make-up has to be called in to freshen me up and make sure I look just right. This lighting, that angle…  Really? Sounds more like some performer prepping for a role or televised interview. I am sharing and talking to my friends and loved ones; don’t they know, aren’t they supposed to realize that I am real and not some plastic, photo-shopped image created to represent what someone defines as beautiful? Of course THEY do, question is do I?

What has happened to us, is we have been flooded… Inundated with 24 hour media. Let’s be real, if you know someone else is watching you really can’t be yourself. Can you? We have all become models and actors, many of us without the benefits of the coaches, directors, and special effects people. Are you really brave enough to go LIVE and truly be in the moment. The answer is undoubtedly yes..wait is my make-up right?

So at 2 :15 a.m 11:15p.m Pacific time my CPAP machine strapped to my face, hair in my silk scarf, The High Chapparral on my television. I see a message from one of my west coast buddies and I accidently select record. OooWeee what a sight. Truth is I should be sleep, I have a severe case of  asleep apnea and I cannot rest comfortably without taking those ritual precautions to insure something close to sleep occurs. Is it something I want the world to see, do I want my friends to see it ? No and No. But if that happens what you view when I accidentally hit record is exactly what my condition looks like.

Now consider what your situation is..in reality and then take a moment and simply say to yourself “Look At You” and be alright with what you see.

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Nothing Helps

Therapy, grief groups, research into finding a word that describes the never-ending pain. I have tried a lot of things and so far the truth of the matter is, nothing helps At least not for long.. Music is painful, browsing through pictures brings mixed results. Sometimes I spiral into a flood of tears, sometimes it is just the pain of an emptiness.

There is a need for soothing. Barring what is obvious and illogical, what can make people like me feel better? Start with religion and God. Well many like me are angry disappointed and confused with the very idea(s). There are medications. How much can a person sleep or NOT sleep, really? Alcohol/drugs ..aren’t we just substituting one type of pain for what will eventually  be another?

Consciously, I know that I am moving forward. I also know that it takes very little to return me to “square one”. As those around NOT directly affected  look to what is next we are stuck painfully nostalgically looking to what once was or what might have been. We are tough patients for therapy.  Trying to live in the now makes us have to dismiss, in theory, the FACT we once had a child.  Then there is being alone, that is a place I feel most at home with. My thoughts are not always soothing, but there is no one to judge  no one to explain the long moments of silence to. The far away looks towards no place in particular. As strange as this may read to others it is a safe haven for us. It does not last long though, how can it and why would it .

We must get back to the business of living and even though nothing helps, until our time expires we too must go on.

“I Get It And I Am Done”

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something they may not necessarily want to do? You can have the greatest of intentions, you may even be right. Yet some how some way things always seem difficult or strained. Then after all the planning and juggling and maneuvering, you still end up back where you started.

Landmark birthday alert.. 40 you speak your mind 50 things are great you have made it through many things and you are still upright..here comes 60 the age of intolerance. Screech!!!

Chasing a dream, a relationship, even an idea is far less attractive now, because of the word chase. What happens when you catch that dream. Figure this into your equation, this”whatever” was attempting to escape/elude you that is why you were involved in a chase, and you still goin after it?

Maybe this is a simple misinterpretation, but  then again maybe it is exactly what you think it is. As I see it, things will only deteriorate and eventually something may rupture. Walking away now, you are merely allowing things to take their natural course. This is after all how it should be.

Your intentions may have been nothing but good, but you must have willing participants. No adult enjoys being forced/coerced into doing something that is totally against what they think they want.

Maya Angelou said, “If someone shows you who they are believe them.” Okay so now you must say, ” I get it and now I am done.”

Mountain Top

I made my commitment to climb this summit in an effort to further my healing. I found and unexpected companion in my BFFA (best friend for always). Honestly I did not want to climb alone, I just did not know who I would suggest the idea to or ask. The best thing was I did not even have to ask her. Once again I was put in a spot of amazement, in awe of the special people who ARE in my life. People who just KNOW what you need and provide it to you without a second thought.

Note I said people and NOT a person. Let me tell you I was LOST a very few short months ago, I got the call and all that was said,” I’ll be there at 11:15, tell Carlton to come pick me up at the airport.” All I could say, the only word I could choke out of my mouth was, “Okay”.

BFF,BFFA, SisterFriend(s), family, friends….They boarded planes, they sent flowers, money, food, letters and gave support that I cannot begin to describe. When I reach the summit and release the balloons for my dear child THEY will all be there with me, in my thoughts. They will feel my love floating into their hearts from mine. I could have never made it without each and every one of them. I have to say God( although I am having a challenging time with Him) knew this and He made sure they were with me, one way or another.

!5 months after I began this piece I actually climbed Stone Mountain. My eldest son, his wife, her mom, my”daughter”, my granddaughter, grandson all came with me. We took the balloons. It was a clear perfect day after a week of off and on rain.  I cried as I wrote Jay’s name o the balloons, I let his only niece release them and we watched as they floated upward.

It was the right thing to do for me. It felt good, no matter how short-lived that feeling was. I know the lost feeling that loss leaves you with is forever a part of you. You must fight to rise above it, but some times, some days you really just don’t want to fight. Those are the day, those are the times you have to metaphorically climb to that “mountain top”, just for YOU.

Uggh..New Neighbors

Living in a town-home community has it’s advantages and it’s challenges. like any situation you MUST take the good with the bad. For that private street you MUST contend with limited parking and a narrow road.

Late Saturday night the moving van semi-blocked my driveway. I was not going anywhere at the time and if I needed to get out, the open door told me I could simply go next door and have the folks moving in to back the vehicle up so I could get out.

As I peered out of my upstairs window my eyes rolled up toward the ceiling. I thought,     ” oh brother, so we have THOSE kind of neighbors moving in”. In reality I knew better and I knew I was setting myself up to dislike these folks before I had VALID reason. I mean for the past two months I had perfect neighbors (the place was vacant). I heard some sounds, some music, some little child cries..already I made sure the police non-emergency number was in my favorites.

Sometimes YOU have to slow yourself down and pull back. What do I know about these people? Answer..nothing. What’s more I am NOT really interested in getting to know them. All I want is to have decent, quiet, respectful, clean next-door-neighbors (yes I went to the store and stocked up on roach traps and sprays..just-in-case). Hello when we see one another and that is quite enough. I have to remember Once-Upon-a-Time we were the new neighbors with two small boys and a couple dogs.

Quiet Times

I  really NEVER thought my soul would feel anything but pain since my dear child Jay suddenly passed away last January. However, after over a year the emotions,while on VERY high alert, have softened. My hope is that anyone who reads this NEVER feels the hurt, I feel every moment of every day. I also hope if anyone who reads this has suffered such a loss, I can provide you with some level of comfort.

NEVER will I be the same.What I am currently, is someone navigating through territory I did not want to be in. I am not tired, I am not weary, I am just in a continuous state of searching. At first I sought an answer to ,”why“. After I discovered no explanation would make sense or give me solace. Then I wanted to know, ” how“. How could I go on, how could I be happy and what was happy anymore. Questions with inadequate answers, that is what I have been living with since my Jay simply stopped being.

Life goes on all around you and eventually, you come back to a state where you appear to be what the outside world see as NORMAL or OKAY. You really are not; you now have the physical appearance of what makes others feel comfortable. The internal battles ARE forever, but you have soft moments and quiet times.

Loss- Losing It

Every now and then the “crazy” surfaces, makes it’s presence known, takes over. I don’t always know it either. I  find myself drifting off. I feel like my son is leaving me all over again and I am grabbing at anything to keep me tethered to him and his memory. I think I feel like I am letting things (NOT HIM) go slowly; I don’t think I am supposed to, and I don’t consciously WANT to.

I scrolled through my phone messages from him..some of the last ones. Since I am NOT so tech savvy I had to save these words/messages the best way I could. I did screenshots. I will print them out and put them with the other items I have carefully stored in the designated cedar chest. The last ones are from Jessica(his lady/his love/my new-now daughter) from the hospital and they came after what I would later find out, was after he had been pronounced.

The room is not exactly as he left it, but there are things I have not moved. I think of the irony..the only Christmas decorations that will be in this house this year are the ones HE left behind in his room. I tell myself I am not as strange as some folks are, but I am lying to myself. I am as fucking strange and weird as they come, and many times I don’t care what you think of me. That is not mean or rude, it is real.

As I navigate through each day something will make me think of my child who is no longer with me and I WILL cry. I may not cry long, but I will hurt and the tears will flow. Sometimes I imagine myself screaming, or cowering in a corner, or collapsing to the ground. I ask myself will any of these particular acts bring me closer to closure or solace, then I ask how can I ever suggest I will EVER have those things in regards to my son as long as I live on this Earth. Each day I am learning to live a life I did not plan for, and one I do NOT want.

I want my son back..I know I cannot have him, but that does NOT change how I feel.

CHRISTMAS WONT BE THE SAME THIS YEAR

Do you know that song? The Jackson Five did it back in 1970..YouTube it. It may give you a smile or two. Admittedly it did for me, somewhat. It also made me aware of a reality; it is a self professing one but one just the same. A holiday I love(d) and cherished, no longer feels that way. The tinsel is tarnished and gray. The lights have flickered out.  The sights, sounds, and aromas have faded. All that remains are questions, indifference, and maybe a bit of fear.

Questions like What will I do this year, How will I feel, Do I want to decorate and celebrate with happy people, Will I stay at home in a house void of decorations and possibly make sadness more at home with me?

Indifference…What does any of what I feel or experience matter, I have been dealt a blow..a blow I will NEVER get over. When I look at decorations that are out far too early, there is a feeling of emptiness. I am no longer looking for ideas to bring the beauty of Christmas into my home.

Fear that I will become that old person, who does not decorate or celebrate. Which in turn will likely make me sadder and speed up my actual aging process. Who wants to be around that.

What’s the plan? Every year for the past 25,  Thanksgiving marked the beginning of my Christmas process. Intermittently we would have a big dinner but mostly it was football, pajamas, and me decorating the house and the tree(s). I now must deal with how to do or NOT do Thanksgiving which makes my Christmas dilemma even more intense.

I thought of leaving town and escape all that is familiar and normal, but I realize there is no escaping life. If I stay in this country, the holidays will come no matter WHERE I am. Even if I travel outside the country, places I would consider, all celebrate Christmas. Where do I run to, how can I hide? Is it possible to change my attitude ?

As difficult as this will be for me, I want more than anything else for people I love and care about to enjoy that fabulous holiday. If I cross your mind and I make you sad, please think of someone or something else. For I am here to tell you, I do NOT want my sadness to  be yours. There is no guess work here; whatever December 25th brings me, I want my loved ones to have the best holiday season possible.

Watching The Process, Being Distracted and Missing The Point

The Polls are open here in Georgia and it is rainy. I wonder how many will use the weather as an excuse NOT to get out and vote?

As an African American Woman this political process is near-and-dear to my heart. At 59 I have watched my world in these United States of America change, evolve, leap forward, and fall backwards. However, I still have always voted since I became of age.  WHY? Well my family was not extraordinarily political, but they did vote. I suppose I was affected by what I saw during and after the Civil Rights Movement and I did not realize how much  I was affected, until I was actually able to exercise my right to vote.

The images of people being attacked by dogs, washed away with fire hoses, beaten by mobs of civilians and law enforcement ARE permanently and indelibly etched  into my mind. Those people fought the “good fight” many paid the ultimate price. However, they made a decision, a decision that let the world know injustice can only be successful when there is lack of knowledge. They decided that life is valuable but the value is diminished when you are held down and taken advantage of. They decided they had a choice and in those times it may be life or death. They said they want a life worth living, not just an existence. As horrible as things were at that time, one might say they had no real choice. I ask of this generation, this society, what is your excuse?

YOU who have reaped the benefits of those who fought the fight. YOU live in comfort, with minimal fear of what was YOUR ancestors reality. Have YOU forgotten THEM. Wait look around you. Young black men ARE being murdered right before our very eyes, sometimes the powers that be give excuses as they acquit them or look the other way, but that is how it starts. Voter suppression is alive and well, not a poll tax but”incorrect or questionable registrations”  deemed so by a candidate who stands to gain the governorship(and ironically runs the elections) and in spite of two separate court rulings by judges, against his so-called findings. RIGHT HERE IN OUR FACES. YOU don’t have time, it does not concern YOU directly, or YOU think the unthinkable “It could NOT happen to me”. Yet, it could and it is.

As you gaze out the window admiring the view from your high-rise condo, you are missing the condemned signs across the street and the widows being boarded up below you, metaphorically speaking. Many who were on the front-lines are no longer with us; we haven’t the benefit of someone else paving our way, we now must get behind the wheel of progress and drive.

Please GO VOTE, if you haven’t already. YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!

 

“Periwinkle” Has To Go!

Dear Disney.. and Precious Moments. I am writing to you to protest the  Happy Birthday Train. It features Disney Princess from Snow White to Merida. Problem is someone is left out. Can you guess who..yep once gain Tiana did NOT make the cut. How and why does this keep happening?  12 opportunities for a princess spot on the train and Tiana gets sidetracked by two “fairies (Tinkerbell and Periwinkle).

I have to be honest the working princess story line was NOT my favorite; along with the fact that she ultimately ends up marrying a guy who does not look like her or share her ethnicity ( he was however brown). Once again we have to be grateful for “slim-pickins”. Earlier this year it was”leaked” Tiana was getting new skin and hair permed for her cameo in “Wreck-it Ralph 2”. The outcry was so loud that Disney went back in and made Tiana look like she did in HER film. The African American Princess we have come to know and LOVE!

I started on my mission. I promptly called Disney(and had Precious Moments on my list to call next). It may seem small and insignificant but where does our sense of self-esteem begin?  I will give you a “for-instance”I have a granddaughter and she is beautiful, brown and sports NATURAL hair.  I however wore my hair straight and chemically processed for 30+ years. Yet, I kept her hair in braids for ease as well as beauty. One occasion I requested her(now our) stylist leave part of her hair out in a puffy bun. It was gorgeous! I told her how pretty she was and how good her hair looked.

One weekend she spent with me she asked me to twist her hair up. I asked her did she like her hair. She responded “Yes but I just want it twisted.” I read much more into”yes but”. I thought of how OUR stylist over the course of 2+ years once asked if I ever though about going natural?” Without a pause I promptly answered,”No.”  Me who constantly commented on how good natural hair looked on other women, me who constantly spoke of how wonderful it was for black women NOT to be forced to wear OUR hair in a fashion that made “others comfortable or how we were no longer relegated to “other’s” standard of beauty.  As I twisted my little granddaughters hair I though of what Addison saw everyday. Her mother’s hair was in a straighten style but it was natural, her other grandmother wore her hair straight and me  her “Abuela” straight as possible with no curl.  Again where does self-esteem start, what message was this little girl reading?

3 years this year since I got off what is fondly known as “creamy-crack”. Do I miss it? NO! What do I love. I love getting out of bed and my hair is the LAST thing I have to worry about. I love rainy/drizzly weather and walking past women getting their umbrellas into position. I love driving with my windows down. What does this have to do with the Birthday Train ? Well it has to do with perceptions and self esteem. One MUST be happy with oneself for that sense of self to be positive. So Disney I love you BUT I love being brown-skinned with hair that is not necessarily straight unless I choose for it to be. There are MILLIONS of little girls who look like me and need to know they are fabulous JUST AS THEY ARE! Leave Tiana alone looks-wise, but don’t exclude her because she looks different. Hell, Ariel has a TAIL!

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